Summer Cannibals

    • Robert Frank
    • United States
    • 1996
    • 4 min
    • Don't Blink: Robert Frank
    The late 1970s marked the beginning of a period of domestic bliss for the godmother of punk Patti Smith. That’s when she left New York City to live in a suburb of Detroit, where she had a child and spent most of her time writing poetry. The death of her husband Fred in 1994 brought an end to that peaceful time. In 1996, she released her comeback album Gone Again, and a single from it titled “Summer Cannibals.” She invited Robert Frank to direct the accompanying music video, probably because she identified with his image as an outsider, something he has always cultivated. Frank’s most important experience in the area of pop music was directing Cocksucker Blues, the most controversial pop music documentary ever made. For that film he accompanied the Rolling Stones on their 1972 American tour, resulting in a shocking record of drug use, group sex and screaming arguments. But there was also the painful loneliness and the emptiness – and these moods are equally palpable in the video for Patti Smith. She may have returned, but being in New York City with her new band doesn’t really feel like a homecoming to her. The camera moves restlessly, as if unwilling to become too attached to a particular face. At the end of the song, Smith offers herself up to be consumed – cannibalism with a messianic flavor.


    • 4 min
    • color
    • video
    Robert Frank
    Kevin Kerslake
    Laura Israel
    Patti Smith
    Robert Frank

    IDFA history

    Don't Blink: Robert Frank

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